Despite some speculation from the fan base that Paul Byron might be the next player out the door for the Montreal Canadiens, Byron himself confirmed last week that he was in talks for a contract extension with the team. Those talks have proved fruitful, as the Canadiens announced a new four-year, $13.6MM contract with the veteran forward. Byron has one year remaining on his current contract at $1.17MM, but will get a hefty raise to $3.4MM per year on average through 2022-23. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun adds that Byron’s contract does not contain any trade protections and will pay him $4MM in years one and three and $2.8MM in years two and four.
This move lines up nicely with what Montreal wants to do over the course of the contract: continue to be competitive while rebuilding their core. Byron has been a great fit for the Habs since coming over from the Calgary Flames via waivers early in the 2015-16 season. Byron has recorded more points in Montreal over the past two seasons (78) than he did his first 200 NHL games prior (66), including a career-high 43 in 2016-17. He has also proven to be a dependable and durable player, skating in all but one game and logging new highs in ice time in the past two years. One could argue that no Canadien has been more consistent than Byron over the past two seasons, who now has the security to further transition into a leader in the locker room.
The versatile forward joins a new Canadiens’ top six of Jonathan Drouin, Tomas Tatar, Brendan Gallagher, Max Domi, and Phillip Danault, all signed on for multiple seasons with the team. A good checker, penalty killer, and all-around two-way contributor, Byron has blossomed into a balanced player who should provide responsible play up front for years to come for the Canadiens. Byron may not have the same name value as some of this teammates or others in the mid-$3MM salary range, but make no mistake – this is a savvy signing by Montreal to lock up a very capable player.